• Question: how many prehistoric animals can you name from the top of your head?

    Asked by lupopippa to Davie, Gemma, James P, James V, Nuala on 26 Jun 2012.
    • Photo: James Pope

      James Pope answered on 26 Jun 2012:


      Hey lupopippa,

      I can name a fair few dinosaurs: T-Rex, Stegosaurus, Triceretops, Brontosaurus, Diplodocus, Gallimimus, Velociraptor, Spinosaurus, Pteranodon

      Elsehwere, obviously animals like Sabre-toothed tigers, wooly mamouths get a mention.

      I can also name some forms of prehistoric plankton (called formainfera) which are used in producing temperature data for my model to be tested against such as G.ruber and G.Saculifer are important ones for the time period I work in. There are also Ostracods and Dinoflagellets (microscopic algae). My friend Lyndsey Fox (https://vanadiumj11.imascientist.org.uk/profile/lyndseyfox) works on these sorts of creatures.

      Other prehistoric species include some living today such as Sharks, Whales, Alligators and Crocodiles which have been around for up to hundreds of millions of years, supreme surviving species that nothing seems able to kill off (although humans are now their biggest threat!).

      Then there are our human ancestors, Homo. Erecus, Homo. Neanderthalis, Homo. Hablis and Australopithecus are the ones I know in my head.

      I’m sure there are countless more, but I’m not too great at memorising these sorts of things, so only a few really stick in there!

    • Photo: Nuala Carson

      Nuala Carson answered on 26 Jun 2012:


      hey lupopippa,

      Yeah not too many! My knowledge is based on watching movies (Jurassic Park and Ice Age) so just a few dinosaurs, mamouth, sabre-toothed tigers. I think James Pope has the knowledge here!

    • Photo: Gemma Purser

      Gemma Purser answered on 26 Jun 2012:


      Wow I think James P has got this on sussed! I will add one that I know though, Meganeura. These were giant huge dragonflies that had a wing span of 65cm!! They lived in the carboniferous times, around 300 million years ago!! When we had lots more oxygen in the atmosphere than we do today!

    • Photo: James Verdon

      James Verdon answered on 27 Jun 2012:


      Hate to rain on your parade there James P, but there’s no such thing as a Brontosaurus! What we used to think were Brontos turned out to be Apatosaurs. That’s my dino-fact for the day!

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